CDC Panel Recommends Whooping Cough Vaccine Every Pregnancy

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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is an advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has issued its vaccination recommendations for 2013. The recommendations, formally known as the Adult Vaccination Schedule, were published online Monday morning in the Annals of Internal Medicine ahead of the journal's next full issue.

The recommendations were also simultaneously published as part of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Among the expanded list of recommendations were several that specifically detailed vaccinations that should be given during pregnancy, including the vaccine that protects against pertussis, which is more commonly known as whooping cough.

Here is some of the key information that emerged on Monday regarding the ACIP's vaccination recommendations for 2013.

* The ACIP recognized in its recommendations that the general rate of vaccination among adults remains low. The goal of publishing the guidelines was to try and encourage vaccine providers to more strongly recommend vaccinations to their adult patients, because research has shown that "a strong recommendation from a health-care provider is associated with increased uptake of vaccines."

* The ACIP also created a "Community Guide" within its recommendations that covers other aspects of increased vaccination awareness and administration, including standing orders and reminder/recall systems.

* There were two major sets of changes to the ACIP's recommendations from last year. Those changes revolved around the pneumonia vaccines and the Tdap vaccine.

* The Tdap vaccine protects against acellular pertussis, diptheria, and tetanus.

* As noted in the CDC's MMWR, the panel also released its updated immunization schedule for children up to 18 years of age.

* HealthDay News noted in its report regarding the updated Adult Immunization Schedule that the recommendation that women receive the Tdap vaccine not only during a current pregnancy, but during each successive pregnancy, is new for 2013.

* The recommendations state that the best time for a pregnant woman to receive the Tdap vaccine is between 27 and 36 weeks gestation, to allow time for the vaccination's protective effects to pass through to the baby as well.

* The recommendations come on the heels of one of the worst years for whooping cough in recent history. As noted by a report from the Wall Street Journal on Monday, some 41,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the United States last year, the highest level in at least five decades. Most of the known deaths from that outbreak were infants that were under 3 months of age.

* Giving expectant mothers the Tdap vaccine is intended to help protect their babies from whooping cough until they are old enough to begin receiving their own immunizations.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.

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